NFL Sports Betting

The NFL is one of the most popular sports in the world, but how exactly do you bet on it? In this handy guide, we'll look at some of the various ways to place bets on the National Football League.

Wade McElwain

Written by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-04-04

The NFL, America's favourite pastime, has a long and storied history, both on and off the field. One aspect that has captivated fans and bettors alike is the world of NFL betting. From its tumultuous beginnings to its current widespread acceptance, NFL betting has evolved significantly over the years. From outright challenging and suing of betting companies who sought to profit off the game, to now openly inviting betting companies into stadiums. Let’s take a look into the fascinating history of NFL betting, exploring past legal challenges, current acceptance, and its ties to the broader history of sports betting in Britain.

Origins of NFL Betting

NFL betting traces its roots back to the early days of professional football. In the early 20th century, as the sport gained popularity across the United States, informal betting pools began to emerge among fans. These pools were often organised among friends or coworkers and typically involved simple wagers on game outcomes. Las Vegas and Atlantic City had their own betting options available, with Las Vegas bookies being the authority on game lines and betting. 
The NFL couldn’t touch Vegas, so they just ignored it. 

Despite its popularity, NFL betting faced numerous legal challenges throughout its history. In the mid-20th century, sports betting, including NFL betting, was largely illegal in the United States due to federal and state laws prohibiting gambling. However, this didn't deter bettors, and underground betting markets flourished. The NFL was known for being aggressively litigious to anyone who dare infringe on their brand, or sought to profit off of the games.  But as the digital age expanded, fans created and ran their own fantasy leagues, and sports betting became to grow globally, the turning point was yet to come. 

The Turning Point: PASPA and its Repeal

One of the most significant legal challenges to NFL betting came in 1992 with the passage of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This federal law effectively banned sports betting in most states, dealing a significant blow to the industry. However, in 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, opening the door for states to legalise sports betting, including NFL betting. With that the floodgates were open, as states quickly jumped on sports betting as way to cover the red in their own bottom lines. Betting on the NFL was a cash-cow, and British betting companies quickly began to acquire and partner with US brands to get ready for the chances. 

Current Acceptance and Expansion

Since the repeal of PASPA, NFL betting has experienced a surge in popularity and acceptance across the United States. Today, numerous states have legalised sports betting, with many more considering legislation to follow suit. Major sports leagues, including the NFL, have also embraced sports betting, partnering with betting companies and integrating betting content into their broadcasts. Watching any Sunday NFL broadcast, and you’ll quickly be hit by how demonstrative sports betting is intwined with Sunday Funday. 
Some purists might say that betting has grown too quickly in America, and that the glossy ads might need to be dialled back.

The Influence of British Sports Betting

While NFL betting has deep roots in American sports culture, its history is also intertwined with the broader tradition of sports betting in Britain. In the United Kingdom, sports betting has a long and rich history, dating back centuries. From horse racing to football (soccer), Britons have long enjoyed placing bets on their favourite sports. In the 1960s’ the Betting and Gaming Act allowed betting shops to pop up across the high street, as well as at various sporting stadiums, making betting a very British thing. 
Many UK shops offer NFL odds, but not quite the options as can be found stateside. 
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Cross-Atlantic Connections

The connection between NFL betting and British sports betting goes beyond mere coincidence. With the globalisation of sports and the rise of online betting platforms, British bookmakers have increasingly offered odds on American sports, including the NFL. This cross-Atlantic exchange has led to a greater convergence of betting markets and increased opportunities for bettors on both sides of the pond. With 3 NFL games coming to London every year, the opportunities for punters looking for more NFL betting options will only grown.

It’s been a long, hard road for NFL bettors looking to finally be able to legally bet on games, but it’s finally here. Just make sure you play smart, and stay within your limits. If you think you might have a gambling problem, please seek help. You’re not alone. 

Best NFL Betting Sites

As previously mentioned in another article, trying to find a good NFL bookmaker in the UK is difficult. 
Not only do most of them not only fail to grasp the dynamics of the game, they often just parrot what’s going on in America, without any due diligence. 
That being said, UK bookmakers have improved their NFL offerings as of late, but still nothing compared to the options in America and Canada.  Here are five NFL betting sites you should be aware of:

CompanyNFL BetsNFL Bet egLicensedPaymentsSupport?NFL Offers?
1. Bet365Game lines; spreads; player prop bets; game prop bets. Limited offerings with their Bet BuilderNoneUKGC, Malta Gaming Authority, USA (Selected states), Gibraltar Gambling CommissionerPayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Bank Transfer, Credit and Debit Cards24/7 Live ChatNone
2. DraftKingsDFSNoneUKGCDebit Cards24/7 Live Chat, EmailNone
3. BetFredPointspread,moneyline, limited player propsNoneUKGC, Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner PayPal, Credit and Debit Cards,24/7 Live Chat, Phone, EmailNone
4. SkyBetGame lines; spreads; over/undersNoneUK Gambling Commission and Alderney Gambling Control CommissionPayPal, Bank Transfer, Credit and Debit Cards24/7 Live ChatNone
5. PaddyPowerPointspread, moneyline, NoneUKGC and Malta Gaming AuthorityPayPal, Paddy Power Shops, paysafecard, Skrill, Neteller, Bank Transfer, MuchBetter, Rapid Transfer, Credit and Debit Cards24/7 Live chat/ Phone/ EmailNone

How to Bet on the NFL

In the UK the easiest way to be on the NFL is either through a betting app, or by visiting a betting shop. Given that the NFL isn’t that well known in the UK, your best options for finding better betting opportunities would be to use an app, or go online.  You will need a UK bank card, or betting shops also take cash.

Where to Bet on NFL Games

Just like above, your best way to bet on the NFL if you’re a UK resident is to use one of the many betting apps. If you’re visiting and want to throw some cash on NFL games, a betting shop is your best place to visit. Most UK casinos do not having sports books, and are very limited when it comes to an NFL experience. 

How NFL Betting Works

NFL betting is a popular form of sports betting where you wager on the outcome of professional football games. The most common way to bet is by placing wagers with a sportsbook, which can be a physical location or an online platform. To get started, you need to create an account, deposit funds, and then choose the game(s) you want to bet on.
Just like the US, but with way less options is how NFL betting works in the UK. Bettors will have pretty much the same moneyline options and spreads, but will find less options when it comes to making more powerful parlays and specialty bets. Player props are also very limited, so UK bettors are often only able to bet on the games.

There are many ways to bet on NFL games, depending on what kind of action you're looking for. Do you just want to bet who is going to win straight-up, or are you looking to cover the points-pread with your bet? Alternatively you might want to look at player, prop or DFS bets. 
Some popular types of NFL bets include: 

  • Moneyline: A straightforward bet on which team will win the game outright.
  • Point Spread: A bet on whether a team will win or lose by a certain number of points (the spread).
  • Over/Under: A bet on whether the total combined score of both teams will go over or under a predetermined number.
  • Prop Bets: Bets on specific player performances or game occurrences, like how many passing yards a quarterback will have.
  • Parlays: A combination of multiple bets, where all selections must win for the parlay to pay out.
  • Daily Fantasy (DFS) is where you select a team comprised of players from different positions to stay under a set budget. 

NFL Odds and Betting Lines Explained

First off you need to understand whether the bet is in American Odds (+ and -), Decimal Odds or Fractional Odds-which do you prefer to read.  There are also Spread Betting Lines, Moneyline Betting Lines, Over/Under Betting Lines, which allow you bet on the Spread; the Moneyline; or the total Over/Under of points scored.

Odds represent the likelihood of an outcome occurring and determine potential payouts. Negative odds (-150) indicate the favorite, while positive odds (+130) represent the underdog. The higher the number, the higher the potential payout for a winning bet.

Betting lines, or point spreads, level the playing field by giving the underdog a head start. For example, if the Packers are -7 against the Bears, bettors backing Green Bay need them to win by more than 7 points to cover the spread.

How to Read NFL Odds and Betting Lines

First identifying the Favourite and Underdog and look at what the spread is. Then decide how much you can afford to wager, so that you can calculate your potential payouts. Many betting apps will allow you to play around with this before you wager.  You should also understand Line Movement as injuries etc might effect it. 

A typical NFL betting line looks like this:

Green Bay Packers -7 (-110)
Chicago Bears +7 (-110)

The numbers next to the team names represent the point spread, while the numbers in parentheses are the moneyline odds. In this case, the Packers are 7-point favorites (-7), and the Bears are 7-point underdogs (+7). The -110 odds mean you'd need to risk $110 to win $100 on either side.

Studying betting trends can provide valuable insights for making informed wagers. These may include teams' performance against the spread, home/away records, performance after a bye week, and more. However, past performance doesn't guarantee future results.

Do some research on this one to look at historical performance analysis, whether this is home vs. away; past player performances, and whether or no this is a divisional match-up. Deep dive right into injury reports, as well as YouTube and other famous NFL pundits who might give you the edge. The more you learn, the more confident you will be when it comes to making your bet(s). 

NFL Betting Strategies

There are numerous strategies you can employ when it comes to betting, but if you're just starting out, keep it simple and go with what you know. 
Other tips to consider: 

  • Shop for the Best Lines: Odds can vary across sportsbooks, so shopping around for the most favorable lines is crucial.
  • Manage Bankroll: Set a budget and stick to it. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  • Consider Home-Field Advantage: Some teams perform significantly better at home due to factors like crowd noise and travel.
  • Research Injuries: Injuries to key players can drastically impact a team's performance.

You should only bet on what you know, or what you think you know, and how much you’re going to bet, as this falls under bankroll management Do some line shopping, investigate handicapping methods (e.g., Fundamental vs. Technical Analysis) as well as you would just rather focus on betting on totals or simpler spread bets. 

What to Avoid Betting on in NFL

Start out slow when you're making your first NFL bets, and don't be afraid to ask your friends for tips on how they do it. It's always better to see how your friends bet, as you may learn a thing or two. 
Other betting mistakes include: 

  • Chasing Losses: Don't attempt to recoup previous losses by increasing your bets. This is a recipe for disaster.
  • Overconfidence: No matter how strong a team appears, upsets happen. Always approach each bet objectively.
  • Betting Under the Influence: Impaired judgment can lead to poor decision-making and costly mistakes.
  • Ignoring Trends: While past performance doesn't guarantee future results, ignoring relevant trends can be unwise.


Don’t bet on what you don’t know, and don’t bet more money that you can afford to lose. Also avoid emotional betting, chasing past losses, ignoring injury reports, or just falling for public perception and hype bets. 

Please make sure you gamble responsibly. 

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FAQs

What's the best NFL betting site?
That's a tough call, and it's up to you. Many people in the UK like Unibet, or Bet365, but the options are very slim. 

Can you bet on the NFL in the UK?
Yes, just download one of the betting apps, or take a trip to one of the many betting shops you will find on most UK high streets. 

What is NFL betting odds?
They are the odds to bet on NFL games, usually set by Las Vegas bookies. NFL betting odds are the wagering options for NFL games.

What is the easiest bet in the NFL?
It would be on the best information you know on a game. The best bet is usually a single one on a contest you are sure of. Taking the under when a snow storm is predicted is also considered one of the easiest NFL bets. 

Can I bet on NFL games online?
You sure can Boomer! Even those with just a computer can create an account and bet online, and in many ways betting online gives you more options. 

Can you bet on NFL teams?
You sure can, if your team is the Chicago Bears you can bet on everything from them winning the Super Bowl, to weekly wins, and many more options. 

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